Early career psychologists who take an
interdisciplinary approach are finding career satisfaction
and more opportunities than ever.
BY BRENDAN L. SMITH
Matthew Davis, PhD, often hears complaints from friends who are early career psychologists about mountains of insurance paperwork and trouble
finding clients in today’s recession. But Davis, who earned
his PhD in counseling psychology last year, has dodged those
problems by crossing psychology’s traditional boundaries.
psychologists are the best trained to do this work because we
have both research and clinical skills.”
Davis has battled some stereotypes while working with
lawyers, judges and probation officers who sometimes view
psychology as just touchy-feely therapy that coddles juvenile
offenders. “It’s almost like they think psychologists will be soft
on crime,” he says. But Davis has shown skeptics how research-
based approaches to juvenile crime can help reduce recidivism,
including the use of home-based programs with caseworkers
for many offenders rather than detention in costly juvenile
Many early career psychologists have gotten the message
that some of their more established colleagues have not:
Interdisciplinary work is the wave of the future, offering new
opportunities in diverse fields, including medical settings,
economics, public policy and education.
“Being a psychologist in interdisciplinary practice is still